POULTNEY, Vt. – Patrick Rittmon scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help Green Mountain College knock off Colby-Sawyer, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) preseason number two ranked team, 81-73, in NAC men's basketball action on Wednesday evening at the Eagle Dome.
With Colby-Sawyer perennially considered one of the top teams, the win starts the Eagles' conference schedule off on the right foot and improves their overall record to 3-1 to start the year. Colby-Sawyer, coming off of a pair of victories after going 0-2 to open the season, falls to 2-3 overall in the loss in its first NAC contest.
The game was a see-saw affair for most of the night as witness to the 10 ties and 17 lead changes. The hosts received a boost from their bench outscoring the visitors 13-5 and were also able to make the extra pass to find the open man holding the edge in assists 18 to nine.
Colby-Sawyer rolled out to an early 7-3 lead benefiting from some missed opportunities close in by the Eagles.
By the 15:56 mark the hosts had battled back to square the game at 12-12 after Rittmon's second three of the game.
The teams would battle back-and-forth for the remainder of the opening half with nine lead changes occurring until the Chargers closed the period by scoring five unanswered points to take a 39-37 lead into the break.
Such play continued throughout the first portion of the second half with the teams still deadlocked with 10:20 remaining and the score knotted at 55-55.
Caron Keenan seemed to spark the visitors coming off the bench and hitting a big three-pointer. Jordain Bell, the NAC's leading scorer, then put the Chargers up by five at 60-55 with 8:24 to go.
The Eagles responded as Rittmon and Thomas Brown scored the next eleven points for the hosts to take bring the team even again at 66-66 with 4:55 remaining.
On the next possession, the Eagles pushed the ball in transition after a miss by the Chargers' Jonathin Makori. Rittmon made a quick outlet pass to a streaking Kenneth Parker who was able to finish through contact and draw a foul. The junior forward converted the and-one play and on the next possession forced a turnover, drew another foul and hit the ensuing free throws to give the Eagles a 71-67 lead with 4:06 to go.
Colby-Sawyer went cold down the stretch, failing to make a basket until 0:44 seconds remained in the game. By that time the Eagles had built an 80-67 lead to put the game out of reach.
Both teams struggled from the floor hitting less than 40 percent for the game and also struggled from the charity stripe where they converted their opportunities around the 60 percent mark.
Rittmon's 23 points led the Eagles while Brown supplemented the offense with 19 points, four boards and six assists. Darius Wynn was keyed in from deep, hitting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for a season-high 16 points. Pierce Weatherspoon had a solid all-around game with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. Parker was the lead reserve, scoring five points while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds and also adding two steals and two blocks.
Bell once again led the Colby-Sawyer scorers with 22 points. He added eight rebounds and four assists. Freshman Dana Bean poured in 18 points and grabbed a team-best nine boards. Patrick Coffey got the start at point guard and notched 10 points.
Green Mountain will head to Maine to take on Thomas on Friday and UMF on Saturday.